Park Avenue’s terra cotta tapestry of grotesques

Sometimes you come across an apartment building with a facade that takes your breath away.

That was my experience recently on a walk past 898 Park Avenue. This 14-story Romanesque beauty on the corner of East 79th Street finished in 1924 is a medley of terra cotta detailing, figures, and faces.

The design is described as “Tuscan-style terra cotta ornamentation” by Andrew Alpern in his book, Luxury Apartment Houses in Manhattan. It’s also been called “Lombardy Romanesque” or “Tuscan Tapestry,” Alpern says.

Whatever the style is called, it’s delightful, as Alpert also points out. The facade belies the reputation Park Avenue has as a stretch of New York with staid, fortress-like residences.

There’s a playfulness at 898 Park. The cerulean and tan arches on the second story contain bas relief images of men sleeping, eating, and what appears to be inventing. (Newyorkitecture.com has closeups.)

And the grotesques affixed to the ground floor arched entryway—they have disturbingly weary faces. But then again, they have been watching passersby for 94 years.

[Top photo: Streeteasy.com]

3 Responses to “Park Avenue’s terra cotta tapestry of grotesques”

  1. Park Avenue’s terra cotta tapestry of grotesques ⋆ New York city blog Says:

    […] Source link […]

  2. Zoé Says:

    Beautiful. Our streets are full of amazing treasures.

    This is such a dying art now (decorative stonemasons); hence the importance of preservation.

  3. David H Lippman Says:

    There are a lot of good ones around town. I like the ones at Riverside Church.

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